Further details have been published about how a sustainable health and care model is being developed in Alderney, with those working on the plans saying that significant steps have been taken to both stabilise and future-proof the island's services and systems.
Concerns were raised last year about access to primary care when the island's only GP practice was put at risk of closure.
The owner announced his decision to close the business with the States of Alderney and Guernsey jointly working together to come up with a solution to ensure GP services could continue in the short term initially, and with "a sustainable and robust healthcare service in the long term".
Island Medical Limited was bought by the islands' governments later in 2022, with the focus now on developing a model to provide the services needed in a sustainable way.
Pictured: When it was announced that Alderney's only GP surgery was to close, the States of Alderney and Guernsey stepped in to save it.
That work is continuing with the joint Guernsey and Alderney political forum and the Alderney Care Board overseeing discussions about health and care provision in Alderney.
One of the first administrative decisions has been to bring in someone new to oversee that work, with Will Pierce appointed Head of Alderney Care.
Mr Pierce was appointed to his new role last month, having previously been Chief Executive of the Queens Road Medical Practice. QRMP had taken over the running of the IMC in the short term to ensure it stayed open before it was nationalised by the two islands' States.
Mr Pierce will be responsible for advising both States on healthcare matters in Alderney, while helping to build a vision and strategy for the island.
Pictured: Initially, Queen's Road Medical Practice helped to ensure the Island Medical Centre in Alderney could stay open.
His work will also cover the development of a commercial focus and operational capability of the IMC, with productivity improvements, efficiency savings and the identification and implementation of new ways of working all recognised as needed.
Mr Pierce said understanding the specific challenges involved in delivering care to the older population in Alderney, along with liaising with providers, is another key responsibility of his new role.
"Alderney faces very specific challenges in trying to deliver a health and care system that both meets residents’ needs and does so efficiently and with resilience," he said. "
"I have been deeply invested in helping the island meet those challenges since the summer and have enjoyed speaking to and learning from on-island health and care providers. Taking on the role as Head of Alderney Care gives me further opportunities to positively influence the direction of travel on the island’s journey to a more sustainable model of health and care."
Pictured: Staffing the IMC remains a challenge.
Some of the changes already made to improve the availability of health care services in Alderney in the short term included making more appointments available at the Island Medical Centre with ongoing discussions between the IMC and the Mignot Memorial Hospital to work out how services can best be arranged between the two providers.
The IMC is currently recruiting for a GP, while there are also vacancies at the Mignot Memorial Hospital for a Band 5 Staff Nurse and a Band 6 Senior Staff Nurse.
A new ambulance contract for the island has been agreed and will come in on 1 April. New contracts and training have been offered to staff in the island following a partnership with St John in Guernsey.
All of the work will continue to be overseen by the Alderney Care Board with support from Guernsey Deputies Al Brouard and Aidan Matthews from the Committee for Health & Social Care, Alderney States Members Ian Carter and Boyd Kelly, and Deputy Mark Helyar in his role as the Policy & Resources Committee lead on matters relating to Bailiwick relationships.
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